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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Red Moon Rising

Designer name to come

I really want to like this, but no matter how hard I try to remember this is a serious work -- "Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Race" reads the subtitle -- I keep thinking this is a children's book about Laika the space dog.

Or is it just me?

BTW, the above is the UK design. Here's the much more straightforward US edition:


Nate S. said...

I think you're right to hesitate about the appropriateness of the tone of the cover. However, it is an aesthetically beautiful cover. Perhaps, despite the subtitle, the content does reflect the playfulness of the cover?

Nate S. said...

I said "cover" 3 times in a row. Sheesh.

bec said...

I don't know I think it could get away with being a serious book OR a children's book. I agree with Nate S. though, I think it's beautiful.

Ingrid said...

As a design, I love it. As a design intended to communicate the tone and content of the book, meh. It looks like a cross between Captain Correlli's Mandolin and a children's book. Not exactly 'saying space race.' Too whimsical, too happy.

Nick said...

Comic about Laika:

Anonymous said...

Terrific design. Wondering whether the designer had an opportunity to read (skim?) the book, or was just given a list of elements that needed to be included. Sometimes it's easy to get lost in the visual field.

Anonymous said...

The Flintstones meets Russian constructivism. What were they thinking?


Sergio said...

There has been a spate of recent titles about Sputnik and the space race (presumably to coincide with 50th anniversary of Sputnik's launch,) but so far this has been my favorite read. Brzezinski has an easy, effortless style, and a mischievious eye for the revealing detail.

As for the covers, I love handmade work as much as the next designer, but in this case, the US cover fits the character of the book much better. The US version is by Nick Caruso, if memory serves... and there's also some nice stuff happening on the back cover and flaps. Overall, the treatment is pretty straightforward, but it works well.

P.s. As a side note, the cover of the new Von Braun bio from Knopf is pretty dull...

...But there's a great photo on the back cover of Von Braun standing in front of a wall of rocket exhausts, from one of his behemoth redstones pushed onto its side.

It made me wonder if the designer (Jason Booher) started with this more interesting image but was ultimately forced to leave it for the back cover.

The other posibility might be that the transition from cover to cover, from Von Braun the "tinkerer" to built rocket, is meant to be a concept... But it doesn't really read that way, and I still feel it would have been nicer to put the best foot forward, to help GROW both audience and interest for a fairly obscure title like this one.

I mean, how many people sauntering through a book store already have high interest in a Von Braun bio!?! (...other than myself, judging by the embarassing length of this comment.)

Anonymous said...

both are examples of poorly used (not poorly made) design styles. The first is too immature for a serious work and the second... well that just looks like a rarely read university text.

I don't care what anyone says, people judge books by their covers, which is why it's so important to do them right.

Simon Robertson said...

i really like the top one (i have not read the books, so am just going on the cover) as it makes me think of the era when the space race was in full swing - it looks like it's straight our of the 50's.

the second is also good, but like mentioned, looks too serious.

i would buy the uk edition just for the cover.

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